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The passage is mainly about the activities that lead up to America's general election.

Hi,
Is "up" in the above optional? Thanks.
Comments  
No, "lead up to" means they come before something in time.

"Leads to" is more directional: This path leads to the house, or All roads lead to Rome.

Note that "lead up to" is simple present and indicates habitual action, versus "led up to" which would refer to what happened leading up to the past election.
Grammar GeekNo, "lead up to" means they come before something in time.

"Leads to" is more directional: This path leads to the house, or All roads lead to Rome.

Note that "lead up to" is simple present and indicates habitual action, versus "led up to" which would refer to what happened leading up to the past election.

Thanks, GG.
I got every part except the bolded phrase in your post. Could you shed more light on it? Thanks.
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The present is "It leads up to." That's used for things that happen over and over.

The past is "It led up to." That's used for things that are in the past.

Is this about what happens every four years, when there is a general election, and all the events that happen every time leading up to any general election, in general?

Or is it about what happened over the past year or so, leading up to the most recent general election?
Hi GG,
Is it technically correct to speak of a "general election" in the US?

A general election in the Parliamentary system is where all the representatives stand for office and are elected at the same time.

But this does not happen under the US constitution, does it? eg I believe only one third of US Senators stand for election at a time. Is the term 'general election' used nevertheless?

Clive
It's to differentiate it from the primaries.

The primary elections determine who the candidates will be from each party, then the general election determines who will win the position from amongst the primary election winners.
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The activities that lead to something are those happenings which bring it about. On the other hand, activities that lead up to something are those happenings which immediately precede it. The two do not mean the same thing.